Immediately following today’s cancellation of E3, for the first time since it started in 1995, Xbox’s Phil Spencer took to Twitter to announce that Microsoft’s E3-related activities were now being replanned for a digital event, presumably a livestream.
“E3 has always been an important moment for Team Xbox. Given this decision, this year we’ll celebrate the next generation of gaming with the Xbox community and all who love to play via an Xbox digital event. Details on timing and more in the coming weeks.”
This must come as something of a blow to the brand, given its keenness to retain an E3 presence and to engage with fans at the show. It’s been far more visible in terms of holding real world events, such as its X019 show in London, than competitor PlayStation, which neither attended E3 nor held its PlayStation Experience event in 2019.
Now, both platforms find themselves in the same boat. E3 has gone and so neither has to stick to that date. But also, neither is likely to invite and gather large numbers of press or fans to whoop and cheer their announcements.
A Nintendo Direct-styled video stream therefore looks the most likely, but it will be intriguing to see how the two platforms time these events – a race to go first seems unlikely given PlayStation’s resistance to saying anything to date – plus how they cope with what is likely a significant redesign for both parties to a coronavirus-resistant launch format.
It’s another big step in what is turning out to be a very unconventional year for the industry.